Richard Walker Remembered
The word ‘legend’ is bandied about far too often these days. So much so, in fact, that it has diluted the meaning of the word, in my opinion. ‘Legends’ are made overnight in sport, it would seem; footballers kick a ball around a field for a season and are ‘legends’. Cricketers win a ‘best of 5’ series of matches and get OBE’s. It’s daft.
In angling, there are very few people that I’d even consider as possibly ‘legendary’. That said, Dick Walker would have to be one of them.
In the carp-obsessed world that we live in these days, most people will instantly recognise his name as being the man who broke the carp record and started carp fishing on a snowball of popularity. What on earth would he make of it all these days?!
However, there was a lot more to Richard Walker than carp. He was, in the true sense of the term, an ‘all-round’ freshwater angler, equally as comfortable with a stick float or a dry fly, as he would be with a carp rod.
If you wanted to know about the history of Dick Walker, you could find out a lot through researching his writing. What Ian Howcroft has done, however, is to compile a book of material about Dick Walker by people who knew him; something the likes of you and I couldn’t find elsewhere.
Our Days With Dick is a series of chapters all contributed by people who knew him when he was alive. Some of the submissions are by people who knew him well, such as Ian Howcroft and Fred J Taylor, and some not so well. The resulting mixture gives the reader a real insight to what the man was like.
In a ‘normal’ book review, you’d expect to read about the author. However, as this book is a compilation, there are quite a few of them! Different writing styles come across in different ways and the chapters vary in length, but that’s what made this book appeal to me. I think that, had Ian Howcroft ‘edited’ it too much, he’d have removed the individuality of each chapter.
As it stands, there are chapters of varying lengths, telling tales of experiences with Dick Walker, or how the author actually got to know the great man in the first place. As such, I found it a great read to pick up as-and-when, and read in short bursts…which was handy, as I was laid up in bed with an illness at the time. Had the book been lengthy chapters, or a ‘story’ that had to be followed, I don’t think I’d have coped!
I enjoyed reading Our Days With Dick. The name ‘Richard Walker’ is one that I’ve always known of, but never really known much about. I now feel that I know a little bit about him – enough to make me curious enough to know more. He wasn’t perfect, which is a blessing, but there’s no doubting that he had an effect on all the anglers he met when he was alive, and possibly millions of anglers since his death.
It is sad that not all of the contributors are with us now, but it does make you realise that this book is, perhaps, the last modern day connection with Dick Walker. Anything that comes in the future will be looking at him in purely third-party terms, whereas this book is from people who speak from personal experience.
Our Days With Dick is 191 pages, including various mono photographs and illustrations. It is published by Watermeadow Books and available from http://www.fishingbooksender.co.uk/. Cloth bound versions are £30 plus postage, whilst the leather bound version is £175.00 plus postage. There will be just 500 and 50 copies of each version respectively.
List of contributors:
Ian ‘chevin’ Howcroft
Fred J Taylor
Dr. R. E. (Chuck) Nunn